Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Why it’s okay to fake it

Act as if

No one feels confident 100% of the time. If that’s what you are aiming for you are going to stress yourself out. Trying to achieve what is unachievable will exhaust you. Give it up. Instead, accept that we all have times when we fancy the idea of hiding away and not presenting ourselves to the world. We ALL go through this but we feel alone because we never see others feeling this way. That’s because we all are hiding and chastising ourselves for not being strong and powerful and go-getting all the time.  We do it in secret though and mistakenly compare ourselves to others assuming they never feel this way (wrong!).  I wish we could all just be more open about it. Give yourself a break and remember you are never alone.

Many of my friends only tell me after the fact, that they have been really down and hibernating. I am the same. No one wants to feel a burden and so we all struggle alone. Sad, isn’t it?

So, let’s get that out of way. We are allowed down time and it’s completely NORMAL to feel fed up, tired and lacking in ambition. In fact, if you didn’t have down times, I’d be worried.

Ideally, it would be great if we could give a truthful answer when someone asks “How are you?”. Instead of the obligatory, “I’m fine” wouldn’t it be great if we could just admit that we all have problems? “No, I am not fine. I’m constipated, tired and wish I was on a beach instead of this shitty office”. No, we fake it and carry on.

Fake it

On to faking it. We all have to fake it at times. There is a difference between denying that you need to take stock of your life and make important changes, for example if you are in an unhappy relationship or you hate your job. Faking it is perfectly acceptable if it’s for specific events rather than faking  whole areas of your life.

There is a well known saying, “Fake it till you make it” and it’s true.The more we “act as if” the more natural the behaviour will become. At times when we don’t feel confident, we can act in a way that appears confident. This has been proven to actually increase confidence over time.

Shoulders back, make eye contact and act as if you are confident and you may just start to believe it. When we behave in a certain way, it stimulates pathways in the brain and the more we stimulate these pathways the more they are strengthened and reinforced, creating more automatic behaviour. You have to keep repeating the behaviour thought for it to become more automatic.

Another trick is to think of someone you admire. It could be a family member, a friend or someone in the media whom you respect. Imagine how they would respond in a simialr situation to the one you need to act confident in. This imagery can also be useful when faking it.

Think of life as sometimes being an acting job. It’s a necessary part of life but faking it should be used with caution. If you fake it too often you may end up confused about your true identity and that can also cause problems. Understand why you are faking it (to get through the job interview or that first nerve wrackng date) but never lose sight of your true, essential self.

Mandy X


Photo by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash

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